A few rain showers did little to dampen the spirit of some of Williamsburg’s youngest gardeners as they planted marigolds in the garden of the Leonard Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.
The Leonard Library Friends group has been planning the gardening event for several months, after receiving a grant from a P.S. 132 (132 Manhattan Avenue) second−grade class penny drive for the plants and construction of the flower beds.
“When I lived in the neighborhood eight years ago, I saw that this backyard area was underused,” said Friends member Kathryn Tornelli. “It’s a green community location and it helps kids get their hands dirty and get rooted in the garden.”
Ten P.S. 132 students spent much of last Friday afternoon cleaning and planting flowers in a new flower bed, which were planted by Friends group member, Linda Rurak.
“If they wanted to read here they could read here,” said Meghan Chiravano, a second−grade student at P.S. 132. “If someone wants to write out here, they could write out here. Lots of people could sit under the trees.”
Chiravano’s classmate, Chasity Mujica, enjoyed the planting activity, only two weeks before the last day of school.
“My favorite flowers were the marigolds because they’re yellow and they’re really thick,” Mujica said.
The Friends group has been organizing several programs and events to raise money for the Leonard Branch, from book talks, to bake sales, and book sales.
“One of the reasons we’re doing this is that we want members of the community participate and protect their library,” said Tornelli.
The 100−year−old branch at 81 Devoe Street, constructed after a donation by Andrew Carnegie, is the center of a bustling Williamsburg neighborhood. The garden is named after Betty Smith, author of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”, who frequently used the Leonard branch and featured it in her 1943 novel.